You are 4 Weeks and 3 Days 249 days to go…

Happy? Excited? But a little nervous? There is no greater life-changing event than finding out you’re going to be parents.

Your baby today

As the embryo transforms from two cell layers into three, a groove develops along the back of the embryo. This groove (the dark area in the center of this image) will develop in the embryo’s neural tube—the forerunner of the brain and spinal cord.

In the few days since you conceived, you may have experienced a whole host of different feelings. Even if you planned to get pregnant, it’s perfectly normal for the initial elation to be replaced with some anxiety as the reality hits you that you are going to be a mom. You might also doubt the result of the test you’ve taken and not actually believe it until you begin to have some of the early symptoms of pregnancy.

Your partner may react differently than you. If he doesn’t appear as excited, don’t interpret this as meaning that he is not happy about the news; not everyone deals with big events in the same way, and it might be some time before the reality of becoming a dad hits him. Withdrawing into himself may be his way of giving himself some time to process the information. Conversely, you may find he’s actually more excited about the news than you!

Handling your feelings might be made more difficult by trying to keep the pregnancy a secret, for the time being. Most couples decide not to tell people until after the 12-week scan when the miscarriage risk is significantly decreased, but you may find that confiding in a few close relatives and friends will give you a much-needed outlet to talk about your feelings.

Discovering that you’re going to be parents is a momentous occasion, and you and your partner are likely to experience a renewed closeness as a result.

Surprised to be pregnant?

If you’re one of the few women who has become pregnant while using contraception, it is unlikely to have done your baby any harm, but depending on what you were using, here’s what you should do:

  • Contraceptive pill: stop taking it.

  • Contraceptive patch: remove it.

  • Contraceptive implant: see your doctor to have it removed.

  • IUD or IUS (intrauterine device or intrauterine system): visit your doctor without delay if you’re using either since there’s a small risk that the pregnancy could be ectopic (see Ectopic pregnancy). Even if a scan shows that the pregnancy is not ectopic, the IUD or IUS should be removed: the risk of miscarriage is greater if it is left in place.

  • Contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera): see your doctor if you conceive while using this. Research indicates that it won’t affect the unborn baby, but you should not have any more injections.

  • Morning-after pill: once an egg has implanted, the morning-after pill has no effect so it won’t harm your baby. Do, however, see your doctor if you’re concerned.

Pregnant women often try to connect with their baby through dreams.

You may find it difficult to fully bond with your baby and believe you’re actually pregnant. A common dream in pregnancy is that you’re swimming; it is thought to be a way of trying to “reach” the baby, who will soon be bathed in water (fluid) inside you.

You are 4 Weeks and 4 Days 248 days to go…

You’re probably eager to know when your baby will be born. The chart below will tell you the expected date of delivery.

Your baby today

The embryo seen from above now has a subtle groove (the primitive groove) and a small central depression (the primitive node), both seen here in white. These changes start at what will become the base of the spine and progress toward the head.

Until you have an ultrasound in a few weeks’ time, your baby’s due date will be calculated by counting 280 days from the first day of your last menstrual period—see chart, When will your baby be born?. At the dating scan (see It’s really happening!), your baby will be measured and his age calculated. The scan date will then be used since it is considered to be accurate.

While you’re bound to want to know the due date, try not to get too fixated on it. Most babies are born within about two weeks of their due dates but your baby will be considered to be born at term if you give birth between 37 and 42 weeks. So your estimated delivery date is just that, an estimate; your baby may be born earlier or later.

When will your baby be born?

To figure out your expected date of delivery (EDD)—also known as the due date—you need to know when you started your last menstrual period (LMP) . Find your LMP date on the chart below to discover when your baby is expected. For example, if your last LMP was January 13, then your baby will be due on October 20.

You are 4 Weeks and 5 Days 247 days to go…

Although there’s lots of information to take in, try to enjoy this time and remember pregnancy is a natural process.

Your baby today

The embryo, still less than 3 mm long, now has a deep and narrow groove extending along its entire length. This groove will soon become so deep and its edges will curl over so much that it forms into a tube running along the length of the embryo.

No sooner than you found out you were pregnant, like most expectant women, you may have begun to worry about all aspects of your lifestyle and your unborn baby’s health. To put things in perspective, remember that in generations gone by pregnancy was considered to be a natural event, and few women made lifestyle changes to accommodate the condition. So in the past, pregnant women were likely to continue eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol, and smoking.

Furthermore, pregnancy tests tended to be much less accurate or sensitive, meaning that many pregnancies ended in early miscarriage without anyone being aware. For this reason, many of the problems now known to be risk factors for pregnancy complications or miscarriage were not analyzed or addressed, or worried about.

Today, with the benefit of a great deal of research, and precise monitoring of ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, women are very aware of what is happening inside their bodies, and are informed about the potential pitfalls. This is a mixed blessing: while it is important to avoid anything known to adversely affect your unborn baby, it is equally important to relax and enjoy the pregnancy, because stress is not good for you or your baby.

As an older expectant mom, you are likely to have more prenatal checkups. High blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a more significant risk for first-time pregnant women over 40.

… Doctor
Q: I’m 40 and in great shape. Will the doctors still see my pregnancy as potentially high-risk?
A: Yes, any woman over 35 is categorized as high risk, regardless of her health status. Although this can be frustrating, the reason for the close monitoring is that, statistically, women over 35 are more likely to suffer from complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, miscarriage, and gestational diabetes; there is also an increased risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder, such as Down syndrome.

Your doctor will simply want to keep an eye on you to be sure that your pregnancy progresses normally, and that both you and your baby remain healthy. By having regular monitoring, any potential problems can be addressed and hopefully rectified at an early stage.

Try not to see it as an intrusion. It’s great that you’re in good shape already, and if you continue to take care of your health and exercise regularly, you will reduce the risks of complications from occurring.

Pregnant women used to be advised to drink dark beer because it’s a good source of iron.

Sadly, this is an old wives’ tale as the iron content of beer is negligible. So, even though they’re not as interesting, stick to your leafy green vegetables!

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